J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2001 Dec;5(2):113-119.

Elderly Suicide in Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Inha University, College of Medi-cine, In-chon, Korea. jnbae@inha.ac.kr


In almost all countries, older adults present higher suicide rates than young people and generally, lifetime suicide risk and the wish to die are positively correlated with increase in age. In Korea, the number of the population in the elderly has been increased more rapidly than other age groups. Through analyzing the officially reported suicidal statistics, we found that the rates and number of elderly suicide in Korea have been increased since 1985, and suicide was most prevalent among 'old and old' and tended to be more prevalent among men, like western world. Some studies about the elderly suicide were reviewed. A community survey reported that 14.6% of the elderly aged 65 years and over in rural area had repeated feelings that they wanted to die during the pervious 2 weeks, and the significant associated factors with the wish to die were depressive disorder, age 85 and over, and poor economical status. But there have been a few studies about the elderly suicide, suicide attempt and death thought in Korea. The needs to understand suicide among the elderly is becoming more urgent and should generate more research. Knowledge of the conditions leading to suicide will aid clinicians and public policy makers by facilitating the effective development of intervention and prevention programs.


Suicide; The elderly; Korea; Review
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